By Pauline Masson

Pacific Editor

The Pacific Police Department has been given a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) discarded Humvee.

The 1992, all-terrain vehicle, will enhance the department’s ability to answer many calls that it now is not capable of handling, according to Police Chief Matt Mansell.

“There are times when a police car can’t get through things like heavy snow or high water,” Mansell said. “This is a full military vehicle that can get anywhere in any weather.”

The vehicle would also be used in rescue searches in heavy woods, where it could carry ambulance district personnel. A clear interior in the extended bed vehicle would allow the department to carry EMTs to remote rescue spots and bring victims out on a flat board.

“Heavy woods is also a favorite place of methamphetamine labs,” Mansell said.

The chief said he spent more than 18 months trying to acquire one of the vehicles. He worked through the DOD process of redistributing obsolete vehicles from its equipment lot focusing on the DOD website. He studied obsolete or redundant equipment that is issued to municipalities and counties and process for cities to acquire it.

“I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere,” the chief said. “A month ago I connected with Lisa Geiser with the Missouri Department of Public Service and we were able to pick up the Humvee in Jefferson City yesterday.”

Mansell observed that there is much more to this rough and ready vehicle than meets the eye of ordinary civilians. The average motorist cannot just get in and drive one.

“It will be assigned to specific officers,” Mansell said. “There will definitely have to be some training involved.”

Mansell said he fooled around with the interior of the vehicle for more than an hour and could not turn on the lights.

“Luckily we have an office with some ex-military people on the force. Rodney Backus drove the vehicles in Afghanistan,” the chief said. “He was able to get in and show me a few things in a matter of minutes.”

The Humvee can definitely help the department get into places vehicles cannot get into now, Mansell said.